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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cotto not bothered by Pacquiao's popularity

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Pittsburgh Fight Sports Examiner | Scott Heritage

The crowd at the MGM arena on Saturday night will be by and large comprised of Pacquiao fans, not to mention the fact that the media, celebrities and most other boxers are picking the Pinoy idol to win a title at yet another weight. Despite this though Miguel Cotto, who is actually the champion and not the challenger going into the fight, is fine with being the lesser of the two draws.

"I know that some people are happy with my accomplishments in the boxing ring. Some others do not believe in me," said Cotto. "I am here for my family and the people that want to follow Miguel Cotto. I'm happy with the work and my family is proud of me."

As Cotto himself says, he isn't in the sport for the fame or adulation, but to look after his family. He seems like the kind of fighter who might be bothered by the kind of media glare that Pacquiao faces daily as well, which works in his favor in this bout. Part of the lack of popularity for Cotto is simply that he seems quiet and serious most of the time. While Manny is singing, acting and playing basketball, Cotto trains and sleeps. Even during the press conferences Cotto never so much as cracks a smile or seems like he is having much fun being in front of the camera.

"I'm not mad at the people -- whether they want me to win or not," said Cotto. "I just work to win, and that's what is going to happen on Saturday night."

Today though being a fighter isn't enough to make you an overall success as a boxer, to attract the biggest crowds and be hailed as a national hero in your home country you have to have the personality to go with it, which Cotto doesn't. Even Manny himself doesn't have a great command of the microphone, but at the same time he has the appeal of fans feeling like they know him through his other activities.

The disparity in the attention given to both fighters might actually work out even better for Cotto because of the fact that Manny must get frustrated and distracted at times by the media circus that accompanies him everywhere he goes.

Even though he doesn't often show it, the constant weight of expectation weighs heavy on Pacquiao's shoulders, as an entire nation expects him to excel not only in the ring, but in every aspect of his life. Fans have a tendancy to live vicariously through their idols, and this is especially apparent in the case of Manny Pacquiao.

For Cotto, there is no pressure, if he loses it was expected and not too many people back home will be that bothered. If he wins, then he makes himself the most marketable fighter in the lower divisions, (at least temporarily) and assures his place in the hearts of his countrymen who aren't quite sold on him just yet.

Is this enough to make the difference during the fight? Probably not, but less popular fightes than Pacquiao have buckled under the pressure in the past.

Source: http://www.examiner.com/x-20066-Pittsburgh-Fight-Sports-Examiner~y2009m11d12-Cotto-not-bothered-by-Pacquiaos-popularity

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